The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 9

    Groped

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 12

    Falls

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 4

    Burns

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor